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Vocabulary : A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z



Quick Subjects

Calculated Peak

Term used to describe the spectral overall RMS level multiplied by sqrt (2). Sometimes referred to as "derived peak" or "pseudo peak."


The cepstrum is the forward Fourier transform of a spectrum. It is thus the spectrum of a spectrum, and has certain properties that make it useful in many types of signal analysis. One of its more powerful attributes is the fact that any periodicities, or repeated patterns, in a spectrum will be sensed as one or two specific components in the cepstrum. If a spectrum contains several sets of sidebands or harmonic series, they can be confusing because of overlap. But in the cepstrum, they will be separated in a way similar to the way the spectrum separates repetitive time patterns in the waveform. Gearboxes and rolling element bearing vibrations lend themselves especially well to cepstrum analysis. The cepstrum is closely related to the auto correlation function.

Characteristic Equation

The mathematical equation whose solution defines the dynamic characteristics of the structure in terms of its natural frequencies, damping, and mode shapes. The mathematical formulation of the characteristic equation is called the Eigenvalue Problem. The characteristic equation is obtained from the equations of motion for the structure.

Circle Fit

A single-degree of freedom curve fitting routine that tries to fit a mode to a circle (Nyquist plot of a single-degree of freedom system). The modal coefficient is determined by the diameter of the circle and the phase by its location relative to the imaginary axis. For a real mode, it should be either completely above or completely below the imaginary axis.

Coefficient of Thermal Expansion

The constant value or factor of expansion of a material for a given increase in temperature, divided by the length of the material. This is different for each material.


Coherence is a number between one and zero, and is a measure of the degree of linearity between two related signals, such as the input force of a structure related to the vibration response to that force. Coherence is thus a two-channel measurement, and does not apply to single-channel measurements of vibration signatures. In a frequency response measurement of a mechanical structure, if the structure is linear, the coherence will be one, but if there is some nonlinearly in the structure or if there is noise in a measurement channel, the coherence will be less than one.

The dual-channel FFT analyzer is able to measure the coherence between the two channels, and it is a useful tool in determining good from noisy or meaningless data.

Coherence Function

Coherence is a function of frequency that measures amount of power in the response (output) that is caused by the power in the excitation (input). If it is 100% coherent, the value is 1.


Another name for the real part of the frequency response function.

Cold Alignment

Machine condition in which alignment procedures are normally performed. Changes in off-line to on-line running conditions should be allowed for during this procedure so that the machine can "grow" into alignment during operation. Also known as static alignment or primary alignment.

Complex Modes

The points on a structure have varying phase relationships between them at a natural frequency. This is unlike a real mode where the phase between points is either 0° or 180°.


Frequency response function of displacement/force. Also known as Dynamic Compliance.

Coulomb Damping

Nonlinear damping that is a result of rubbing, looseness, etc.


Mechanical fixture for joining two shafts.

Critical Damping

The smallest amount of damping required to return a system to its equilibrium condition without oscillating.

Cross Correlation

Cross correlation is a measure of the similarity in two time domain signals. If the signals are identical, the cross correlation will be one, and if they are completely dissimilar, the cross correlation will be zero. Certain dual-channel FFT analyzers are able to measure cross correlation.


Acoustic Measurements and Mapping
Compliance Shapes
Data Analysis
Data Reduction
Fiber Optic Accelerometers
Generator and Noise Vibration
Load Cells
Modal Analysis
Nuclear HQPT Repair and Calibration
Operational Deflection Shapes (ODS)
Remote Monitoring
Steam Turbine
Steam Turbine Bucket Vibration
Strain Measurements
Structural Vibration